Reflections of a Trainee Teacher – @EarlyYearsIdeas

“He who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” ~ Richard Henry Dann

Embracing technology

Today I came across an in the Guardian entitled: “Third of teachers ban electronic devices in classroom despite positive outcomes, survey finds

Image from morguefile.com

This came as quite a shock! With the constant development of new technology and brilliant educational software, I had assumed that more and more teachers would be embracing devices (mobile phones, tablets and laptops), however this article suggests otherwise.

The figures within this article suggest that; while teachers acknowledge that technology can have a positive impact on teaching and learning, the level of distraction is a huge concern. On reading some further comments on the subject, it appears that mobile phones are often ‘blanket banned’ in schools as they are seen to be the biggest distraction. One commenter writes that ipads are used in their classroom with success, while another states that classrooms are about interpersonal interaction and expresses concern that personal devices are too individual. (Read the comments here.)

Despite the negative attitudes of some, it is clear that many educators are welcoming devices and technology within their classrooms. Sources such as this post from Teach Hub point out the many benefits to allowing personal devices, including:

  • Teaching children to use and make the most of the technology that is available to them. In a society which is increasingly technology driven, these are important skills.
  • Addressing important issues (such as cyber bullying)
  • Differentiation as more able children may be able to take their learning further
  • and student engagement. We know that children learn the most when they are engaged and interested. This means that teachers should aim to use resources that stimulate and excite their pupils.

There are, of course, disadvantages that must be considered (besides the distraction aspect!)

Image from morguefile.com

This post from Bright Hub Education points out that if children are encouraged to bring and use their own devices, it could raise issues where some children may not have the ‘best’/ newest devices (if they even have one at all!) This could lead to bullying and can impact negatively on a child’s self esteem. Theft may also be an issue if children are bringing expensive devices into school. The above issues could perhaps be avoided if the school is able to provide devices, however budgets often cannot accommodate this.

The Bright Hub Education post also makes a valid point; that ‘old school’ teaching should not be forgotten. I agree with this sentiment because, as great as technology and devices are, they should be used alongside other varied teaching and learning methods in order to meet the needs of all children.

Image from morguefile.com

The use of technology within the classroom will be an area of interest for me when I go out into my placement schools. Previously, I have seen smartboards and PC’s used effectively, but I have yet to see the use of personal devices. I would be interested to see how a teacher can tackle the problems of distraction and of division between privileged and less privileged pupils.

2 comments on “Embracing technology

  1. Claire-emma
    January 22, 2016

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I couldn’t agree more with you in that technology should be embraced in the classroom as it has many benefits to learning. I came across this article http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563215302387 that might be of interest to you. My main concern is not that technology is being used in the classroom but how it is being used in the classroom. I know many people,e that do not feel that they have the skills and knowledge to use technology appropriately in the classroom. The school my children attend are wanting to purchase iPads for use within the classroom. My first response was to ask what exactly they will be using the iPads for as too often do I speak to children who do use them and hear they are playing spelling game apps or mathematics quiz apps. To me this is a glorified workbook and an expensive way of adding very little value to their education. I’d match rather see technology being used to work collaboratively or learning code or how to build their own website or to create animation. Thank you for posting your thoughts on this!

    • M Mackie
      January 22, 2016
      M Mackie

      Thank you for your comments and for pointing me towards that article. I completely agree with you. Sadly, using technology in the ‘glorified workbook’ seems to me to be more about checking a box and saying “See? We use technology!”
      This quote stands out to me: “it is important not only to pay attention to mobile technology in general, but also to consider the design and content of Apps in order to clarify what instructional benefits the combination of mobile technology and Apps actually give” (Falloon 2013, Cited Domingo and Gargante 2015).

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